Chronic kidney disease in Costa Rica

Manuel Cerdas
Kidney International. Supplement 2005, (97): S31-3
Costa Rica is one of the Central American countries, located between Nicaragua to the north and Panama to the south. Like other Latin American countries, Costa Rica deals with social and economic problems associated with poverty, except for one significant difference-Costa Rica has not had an army since 1948, and so the people and government can spend more money on education and health. For this reason, Costa Rica is very different from other Latin American countries. We do not need weapons, and we have had a democratic tradition for 100 years. Despite our economic and social limitations, Costa Ricans have universal access to a health system that covers 98% of the inhabitants. Renal replacement therapy (RRT) is accessible to all who need it. In the last 5 years, Costa Rica has doubled the number of patients on hemodialysis, and has the highest number of kidney transplants per million population (pmp) in Latin America, with 20.63 transplants pmp in 2000, 27.25 transplants pmp in 2001, and 24.81 transplants pmp in 2002. However, the prevalence of all forms of RRT in Costa Rica is currently 193 pmp. This suggests that end-stage renal disease is underdiagnosed in Costa Rica as it is in many other Latin American countries. Greater research efforts are needed to determine the true extent of renal disease in Costa Rica and to optimize the use of health-sector resources to provide a better and more robust program of RRT for patients with end-stage renal disease.

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